What to do?

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

What to do?

Postby BadgerJelly on November 27th, 2016, 2:13 am 

Kind of a silly question on the surface ...

If I don't want to do something, but feel I should, how do I assess my approach?

Right now I feel a weight of responsibility but I am really not sure what will happen if I try and do something. If I make an attempt I may fail so badly that I'll be a general hinderance to my idea ofc "greater good". Inaction is effectively an action. Should I wait for an easier and more balanced resolution or plough ahead now as this may be my best opportunity now.

Basically what can we do to assess the situation as quickly amd as efficently as possible. The obvious solution to this problem is to apply critical thinking. How do I know my critical thinking is up to the task though?

Am I overly cautious or simply a coward? Is bravery nothing more than bravado?

Two things scare me, my regard towards my stupidity and my regard towards my intelligence. Which one is more dangerous?
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Re: What to do?

Postby Braininvat on November 27th, 2016, 10:54 am 

Your posts sometimes have a crypto-vague tone that makes it difficult to find the meaning. Without more details and specificity, it might be hard for us to apply critical thinking skills to any contemplated course of action. I would say, and this hardly a revelation, that many worthy actions we do are ones we would rather not. The inner voice that advises inaction is often not trustworthy and should be challenged by that strong counterpoint process you mentioned in the Fursty Ferret thread over in Lounge (where you and Noships were forming wedding plans, IIRC). As for bravery, I always like Kennedy's definition of "grace under pressure."
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Re: What to do?

Postby NoShips on November 27th, 2016, 10:58 am 

LOL, I agree. No one understands him/her
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Re: What to do?

Postby lichen on November 27th, 2016, 11:52 am 

Give yourself some credit for admitting that you don't know what to do. Certainty of action is frequently based on an overly simplified view of a situation.

That said, sometimes any action is better than inaction, if you want to feel like you have control over your own life and circumstances.

One approach is to break down what appears to be a binary do/don't choice into smaller choices. All actions are in fact the combination of multiple smaller actions (at least, down to the actions of electrons interacting with photons and other electromagnetic fields, and similar reactions).

The problem, and the challenge, is that no actions are binary or simple. Maybe you need to gather more information. Maybe you need to ask the people who would be affected by your choice. Probably there are many alternatives that would have better outcomes but which are less final. Every situation is different.
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Re: What to do?

Postby Serpent on November 27th, 2016, 4:40 pm 

If no useful and reliable information is available, you can resort to thought experiments.

If I do A - what happens, and then what probably happens, and then what's likely to happen? Play through the whole scenario in your head, and repeat with different values for the main variables. And while you are making/watching this movie, ask:
What is the best possible outcome? How important is it?
What is the worst possible outcome? How great is the risk? Is the best outcome worth this risk?
What precautions or extra measures can I take to tip the odds toward the best outcome?
Can I enlist any help?

If I do B.... etc.

Most important: What's the cost of walking away?
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Re: What to do?

Postby Eclogite on November 28th, 2016, 5:59 am 

I am a great believer in critical thinking.
I am a great believer in rational thought.
I am a great believer in reasoned argument.


And yet:

Research has shown that we make better decisions if we are forced to do so when urgently needing to urinate.
Ones first and "gut feel" turns out to be the right one more often than not.
The majority of our 3.5 billion years worth of ancestors did not use critical thinking, rational thought or reasoned argument, yet they survived long enough to produce you.

Go with your gut.
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Re: What to do?

Postby NoShips on November 28th, 2016, 6:14 am 

LOL!

Go with your bladder, you mean
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Re: What to do?

Postby Braininvat on November 28th, 2016, 10:29 am 

] Research has shown that we make better decisions if we are forced to do so when urgently needing to urinate.


Only if the decision is "I'm going to go find a restroom (WC, or loo, for you UK folk) or bush...."

But if that factoid were true, it would provide a way up the bladder of success.
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Re: What to do?

Postby Serpent on November 28th, 2016, 12:28 pm 

Well, it got us as far as Pre - urk - sid - urk!- ent Trump, didn't it?

I do agree that instinct, or gut reaction, makes sound decisions in some kinds of situation. For example, in evaluating personal relations, my thought experiment goes something like this:
John and Ethel are coming to dinner tomorrow. (Does my my stomach flutter in anticipation while my brain goes into overdrive planning menu and entertainment, or does it go into a tight knot?)
They can't make it, after all. (Dashed or relieved? Be honest!)
When we already have the requisite information for a practical choice, but don't have reliable conscious access to everything we know, the animal problem-solving process that goes on all the time beneath our awareness may be able to make more efficient use of archived information than the second-guessing, bet-hedging, socially responsible conscious mind.

However, all the people who didn't survive to create progeny, and all the other extinct species, worked on the very same principle. Hard to compare the efficacy of methods when so many practitioners are beyond testing.

On the other hand, we brought and built this conscious, rational mind along through evolution, even though it is very expensive, so it must have survival value. We allowed it to invent rules, priorities and ethics, which tend to elude bladder-level analysis.

So, really, what approach to take depends on the complexity of the decision.
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Re: What to do?

Postby Braininvat on November 28th, 2016, 12:59 pm 

I recently had a decision that I made on the gut level, and now suspect it was also well-reasoned. Our daughter has had numerous boyfriends. Sometimes I have the pleasure of meeting them for the first time at a Thanksgiving dinner, with varying levels of me wishing to seize the bottle of table wine and chug it down. Seriously, they've mostly been nice fellows and a couple of them I regret not seeing anymore, as they have passed into boyfriend history. But now I hear rumors that this new one is a serious relationship, possible (gulp) husband material.

So far, so good, but then we hear that he sells used cars and voted for Donald Trump. My son and I had a similar reaction, basically: well, he might be nice and interesting and smart (as the daughter claims), but do we have to put at risk the only family dinner together this year (we live in different U.S. states now)? Should we all clam up and not talk politics? Do I restrain my impulse to ask, "You have a degree in engineering and you're selling used cars? What's wrong with you?" Or, of course, "What on earth possessed you to vote for Trump? Do you think he's a good model for how to treat women, e.g. MY DAUGHTER?" You get the idea. Hostile Father stuff.

Then my son says we should dis-invite him, or he will not come to dinner. I don't like being unwelcoming, so I wanted to talk him out of that position, but I also wanted to see my own son at Thanksgiving. And my son made several good points -

1. It is a family dinner, more than a meet-the-boyfriend dinner. And the BF does have family in town, so he will still get one dinner out of it, anyway.

2. The relationship may not last, given that the daughter is fairly leftist in her politics, and has pretty strong views on women's rights. So all the claims of the relationship being longterm are to be viewed skeptically. Why ruin a good dinner on someone who might prove to be just another ephemeral fling?

3. In the case of this BF, none of the family have met him, so the stakes would be higher than usual, and the level of scrutiny from multiple directions might be rather unpleasant for said BF. Why not have family meet him in more informal ways, singly, if he's going to be around for a while?

Some compelling points. I went with my gut and said he shouldn't come to dinner, and that I would drop by his used car lot sometime and introduce myself. And my gut overrode my brain, which ultimately said, "It is just rude to disinvite someone to any occasion and I don't want our family to seem unwelcoming." But the truth in my gut was, "We ARE unwelcoming."
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Re: What to do?

Postby Serpent on November 28th, 2016, 1:33 pm 

We did invite him. The same guy, pretty much. We made every - difficult - effort to be welcoming and tolerant. She married him. He stopped, and eventually she stopped, making any effort to be welcoming or tolerant toward us.
Result: we don't see her or the yuppy grandkids.
Gut response: relief.
Reasoned response: Look at the stress, travel time and money we saved!
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Re: What to do?

Postby BadgerJelly on November 28th, 2016, 2:01 pm 

Brain -

Fascinating. Thank you! A large number of judgements and judgements of judgements.
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Re: What to do?

Postby NoShips on November 28th, 2016, 6:19 pm 

If there's one thing I hate it's redundancy.

I'll say it again.

If there's one thing I hate it's redundancy.
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Re: What to do?

Postby Braininvat on November 28th, 2016, 6:45 pm 

Noships, you'd best report that to the Department of Redundancy Dept.

Badger, I don't know if your OP is being answered, but I guess a case for "gut" is being made.

Serpent, not the best outcome but maybe the relief in your gut was to be trusted.
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Re: What to do?

Postby Serpent on November 28th, 2016, 8:07 pm 

Oh yes. Some relationships just cannot work.
It's painful to write off a 30-year investment, but hurts a lot longer to hold on.
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Re: What to do?

Postby BadgerJelly on November 29th, 2016, 3:04 am 

Brain -

Its being addressed enough. As usually tryng to show the point at which reason is abandoned. As you can imagine trying to reason why this happens becomes a little strange considering once you've accepted some "gut" feeling you do so because you cannot reason out an explanation and then decide because of reason to follow your first reaction even though it possessed absolutely no constructive reasoning method.

It is so contrary it fascinates me a great deal. You also happened to realise your own prejudices of your daughters judgement, the judgements of a complete stranger, and your own judgement of this. You actually reasoned on the principle of honesty though. If you want to be welcoming but you are not welcoming and even expressing a facade of welcome then you are not truthfully being welcoming so if you want to be qelcoming and cannot be welcoming better to avoid the event.

Something I cannot get out of my head is the chess tournament with grandmasters and super computers playing together on teams. The most successful teams were not grand masters and super computers, the most successful were average players and supercomputers. From this it seems a little ignorance produces great success if parallel to highend cold calculated reasoning. Not really the same situation as yours, but there is a lot to be said for strategising a situation with unknown variables and how effective "gut" feeling can be in helping us to explore and learn what we'd never have had the chance to learn otherwise.

The OP was about me thinking about trying to publicly enforce my "ideology". Or actually taking what seems like a risk even though past experience has shown me in my life that many risks and fears I have had have been utterly false and more about what society has conditioned me to think.

As an example people say "I'd love to do that, but I cannot." When the truth is they can do it and that all they need to do is to realise they are lying to themselves due to fear.

I don't like to quote Will Smith from some average to dull movie, but one truth (in my mind) was said there ... "Fear is not real." I have been in this position and it was an extraordinary thing (as in "extraordinary" and "extra ordinary", it was real).
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Re: What to do?

Postby nameless on June 2nd, 2017, 7:47 pm 

BadgerJelly » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:13 pm wrote:Kind of a silly question on the surface ...

"Do what you know to be right, say what you know to be true, and leave with faith and patience the consequences to god!" - F.W. Robertson

This ^ is the essence of 'Faith'/Love! Robertson calls Us 'God', but call Us whatever works for you; the Universe, Nature, Tao, Truth, Consciousness, Buddha, 'Self!'!, The Great Balloon Butted Big Bellied Bimbo in the Sky... whatever..., they all refer to the same One Reality, the same One Truth!
We Are All
One Omni- 'Self!'!

"Do NOT do to 'others' what you don't want done to you!"
(EVERYTHING in the Universe (and everyone), is 'others', and 'others' Is Self!)!

Another Perspective;
The Knowledge of 'this moment' is the 'answer' to the question of "What is going to happen, what will I do...?" of the previous moment.
To Know, just be Mindful and pay attention Here! Now! *__-
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